In Louisiana, children are being suspended, expelled and pushed out of school which has a direct relationship with children ending up in prison. In 2003 Louisiana passed sweeping reform (Act 1225) that closed our Country’s most notorious juvenile prison and set in motion other reforms that if implemented fully and with fidelity would halt the school to prison pipeline. School should provide a safe and nurturing environment for children and out-of-school suspensions and expulsions cut classroom time for those who need it most. During the 2011 – 2012 school year Louisiana doled out over 67,000 out of school suspensions which is a .4% reduction over last year and expelled 300 less students according to the Louisiana Department of Education. While that seems like progress on the surface, on the ground in the trenches we are hearing disturbing trends of children who are being placed on probation. Probation is described as something like “zero tolerance” where, among other things, children can be recommended for expulsion simply for skipping class which clearly violates Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS) which is a state mandate. PBIS if used correctly is designed to keep children from being suspended or expelled. Another trend we are hearing is that children/families are being forced to withdraw their children or risk facing expulsion on their permanent records. The families we have spoken to are feeling frustrated at an education system that holds their children to a zero tolerance policy while the school system has no accountability.
FFLIC is embarking upon a “People’s Data Campaign” in order to get a more accurate account of how the lack of proper implementation affects our youth, family and communities. The “People’s Data Campaign” is designed to deploy families, youth, and other concerned community to conduct surveys and outreach in communities by door knocking, walking the street, setting up tables at malls and department stores, near school, develop PSA’s and where ever we can find families and youth willing to tell their story. We invite every person and organization to join this opportunity to have your voice heard and your story told. We aim to collect surveys and petitions across Louisiana to take to the State Capitol on April 3rd to tell our legislators to: In Honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “Keep the Dream Alive: End the School to Prison Pipeline” and call for Accountability for Juvenile Justice Reform.
Fill out surveys here:
CLICK HERE IF YOU ARE A STUDENT
CLICK HERE IF YOU ARE A PARENT
Not in Louisiana and want to help? Please donate to this endeavor to ensure as many individuals are able to come out and support this effort!
For more information please contact: